On April 24, 2014, Magistrate Judge Eddy from the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania granted Plaintiff’s motion to conditionally certify a collective action comprised of all Field Service Managers (“FSMs”) employed by Alliance Inspection Management, LLC (“AIM”) in the United States within the past three years. Jones v. Alliance Insp. Mgmt., LLC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57257 (W.D. Pa. Apr. 24, 2014). As a Field Service Manager, Plaintiff performed routine work associated with Alliance Inspection Management’s vehicle inspections and dealership audits. Plaintiff alleged that Alliance Inspection Management misclassified her and other Field Service Managers as overtime-exempt. As a result, Plaintiff alleged that she and other Field Service Managers did not receive any overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a week in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (“PMWA”).
In granting Plaintiff’s motion for conditional certification under 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), the Court found that Plaintiff had presented “substantial evidence that shows a factual nexus between the manner in which Alliance Inspection Management Inc.’s overtime policy affected her and other FSMs.” The Court referenced a letter from the DOL which was apparently sent to all Field Service Managers concerning the Wage & Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) investigation into Alliance Inspection Management’s overtime classification of Field Service Managers. Likewise, the Court referenced a letter that Alliance Inspection Management’s CEO circulated to all Field Service Managers in response to the DOL’s overtime investigation Thirdly, the Court referenced documents stemming from the DOL’s investigation which demonstrated that Plaintiff and all other Field Service Managers (“FSMs”) employed by Alliance Inspection Management (“AIM”) were similarly subject to the DOL’s overtime investigation.
Finding that the “lenient standards” pertaining to the conditional certification of a collective action were met, the Court concluded that “Plaintiff has produced a great deal of compelling evidence that shows she is in a class of similarly situated FSMs who were the subject of the DOL’s nationwide investigation into AIM’s alleged overtime pay violations, and that there is a factual nexus between the manner in which AIM’s policy (deeming FSMs to be exempt from FLSA’s overtime requirements) affected her and other FSMs.” Thus, other Field Service Managers will now have an opportunity to join the collective action lawsuit to assert their unpaid overtime rights by filling out and returning a consent form.